Water Restrictions In Augusta To Prevent Water Emergency

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Monday, June 25, 2012

People in Augusta are experiencing Deja Vu this summer. Drought conditions and a dried up lake means water restrictions, just like last summer.

It's the same story but a different lake. Last year the nearby Santa Fe lake was nearly bone dry so the city put water restrictions in place just to make sure they had enough water to last them all summer.

This year, it's the city lake which is looking extremely low. The lake was drained this winter for a spillway project.

The city says they have to keep the restrictions in place to protect themselves in case of an emergency.

The Guzman's house number is even so Monday and Thursday, they're allowed to water their yard from four to eight AM.

”Yes, but I don't get up at four am to do it. I get up at six thirty or seven and I do what i can in the allotted amount of timem” Judy Guzman said.

And she says their lawn and plants are paying the price.

"It's just kind of sad,” Guzman said.

Augusta's city manager says the water restrictions are necessary. The city only has three water sources. The primary one comes from El Dorado, but the pipeline is extremely old and can only hold so much water without risking a major break.

The second source is the City Lake but because of it's low levels, no water has been pulled from it this year. Instead they've been relying on their backup source, Santa Fe lake.

”From that perspective we were very blessed and very fortunate that the water's out there and we were able to use that because last summer was not a resource for us at all,” Augusta City Manager Bill Keefer said.

For now the city says they're able to handle the water demand but if there was a water emergency, like a major fire or a break in the El Dorado water line, while the city lake is so low; the city could be in serious trouble.

"I will feel a lot more comfortable when I see at the city lake and not at the bottom like it is right now,” Keefer said.

Keefer says that's why it's important for everyone in the city to stay within their water limits.

The Guzmans tell us they're doing their share by getting a little creative.

“We always have a bucket in the shower to catch the overflow and that goes out into the garden,” Guzman said.

The city manager gets reports every day on how much water is being used from each source and the city council will discuss the water problem every week. If the city approaches it's maximum limit of usage, they could start issuing citations to people who are going over their water limit.

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